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Darwin Correspondence Project

To T. H. Huxley   [26 January 1860]1



My dear Huxley

I have arranged all about the Pigeons.—2 All the main kinds & some Dovecot & some pretty Toy Pigeons will be sent in open show Baskets.—

But please observe you must write 4 clear days before to “John Baily Esqe Junr 113 Mount St. Grosvenor Sqe” & tell him where & at what hour the Pigeons must be sent.3 And please remember I promised he shd have ticket for Lecture, though I suspect the old Father-Poulterer will seize on the Ticket.—

They would not hear of any payment, but I promised that the man who brought & attended the Pigeons should have a douceur of s2 . d6 or 5s. — Perhaps two men will be sent.—

Ever yours | C. Darwin

Do not forget 3 tickets for my Family as you promised.—

Please put down my Brother as Subscriber to Herbert Spencer Book—4

E. Darwin Esqr 57 Queen Anne St | (W.)


Dated by the preparations for Huxley’s forthcoming lecture, given on 10 February 1860 at the Royal Institution (T. H. Huxley 1860a). CD’s reference to having made arrangements about the pigeons that Huxley wanted to exhibit suggests that he was in London. CD visited London from 24 to 27 January 1860 (Emma Darwin’s diary).
Huxley planned to exhibit several of the major breeds of the domestic pigeon at his Royal Institution lecture on Friday, 10 February 1860.
John Baily, and his father, John Baily Sr, were dealers in fancy poultry and pigeons in London. They had provided CD with many birds for his study of the effects of artificial selection (see Correspondence vols. 5 and 6).
Spencer 1860–2. The work, entitled First principles, formed the first volume of Herbert Spencer’s five-part series entitled ‘A system of philosophy’. It was issued in parts to subscribers only, at an annual cost of 10s. Huxley was a close friend of Spencer’s; he later read the proof-sheets of this work (L. Huxley ed. 1900, 1: 212). Like Erasmus Alvey Darwin, CD also subscribed to the series (see letter to Herbert Spencer, 2 February [1860]). A copy of Spencer 1860–2 is in the Darwin Library–CUL.


Has arranged with Baily the poulterer for pigeons for THH to exhibit at Royal Institution lecture.

E. A. Darwin will subscribe to H. Spencer’s book [First principles: a system of philosophy (1862)].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Thomas Henry Huxley
Sent from
Source of text
Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine Archives (Huxley 5: 119)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2673,” accessed on 24 April 2019,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 8